Modulation of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli survival and virulence in the human gastrointestinal tract

Grégory Jubelin, Mickaël Desvaux, Stephanie Schuller, Lucie Etienne-Mesmin, Maite Muniesa, Stéphanie Blanquet-Diot

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Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is a major foodborne pathogen responsible for human diseases ranging from diarrhoea to life-threatening complications. Survival of the pathogen and modulation of virulence gene expression along the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) are key features in bacterial pathogenesis, but remain poorly described, due to a paucity of relevant model systems. This review will provide an overview of the in vitro and in vivo studies investigating the effect of abiotic (e.g., gastric acid, bile, low oxygen concentration or fluid shear) and biotic (e.g., gut microbiota, short chain fatty acids or host hormones) parameters of the human gut on EHEC survival and/or virulence (especially in relation with motility, adhesion and toxin production). Despite their relevance, these studies display important limitations considering the complexity of the human digestive environment. These include the evaluation of only one single digestive parameter at a time, lack of dynamic flux and compartmentalization, and the absence of a complex human gut microbiota. In a last part of the review, we will discuss how dynamic multi-compartmental in vitro models of the human gut represent a novel platform for elucidating spatial and temporal modulation of EHEC survival and virulence along the GIT, and provide new insights into EHEC pathogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2018

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